Wild West City paid tribute to one of its own, Michael Stabile, Jr., on Sunday Aug. 4. Stabile, whose family has owned Wild West City in Byram Township for more than 60 years, passed away on Thanksgiving Day 2018. Stabile, whose birthday was Aug. 4, was honored by friends and family at the western-theme park.
An accomplished trick roper and master bullwhip cracker, Mike performed daily at 12:15 p.m. on Wild West City’s Main Street for over 50 years up until 2017. He was best known for his Oklahoma Skips, at one point jumping through his rope 114 times nonstop.
A formal ceremony was held midday with special guest speakers, including emcee Uncle Floyd, the iconic comedian who once worked at the park as the piano player. A proclamation from the state, spearheaded by State Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths, was presented to the Stabile family (photo attached, Ron Benson, Mary Benson, Frank Benson - Michael's nephew). Beyond his work at the park, the easy-going Stabile was a man of faith and believed in giving back to the community wherever possible. He gave to local charities and allowed the park to be used for fundraisers and local events such as the annual Lakeland Emergency Squad Easter egg hunt; 5k races; the Lenape Valley Kiwanis Pizza Challenge and the BARKS garage sales . Mike often performed his rope and whip show gratis for local functions including Byram Day, Stanhope Day, Netcong Day or at local scout functions such as Blue and Gold dinners. In honor of Stabile, all patrons attending the park that day got a free ticket to ride the train, which was always a favorite of Michael's.